So here it is Friday of the first week of fall quarter. The equinox came and left, fall fell on Seattle, and I have yet to post this month. Here are a few highlights of my wonderful, glorious, busy summer (sounds a bit like something I might ask my students to write, doesn’t it?) ...
June 2013: Second Beach and La Push Indian Reservation
Edith and I go way back. She was a young English language student from Switzerland. I was her young teacher. It was 1983. I’d just returned to Seattle after over a decade living in Hawaii and California, Venezuela and Mexico. She was only in Seattle for a few months before returning to Switzerland. Through the years, we lost touch as friends sometimes do. A few years ago I got a Facebook message: “Are you my Arleen?” I was, I am, I always will be. That’s my definition of friendship. In June, Edith returned to the Pacific Northwest for the first time in twenty years. I asked her where she’d like to go. “The sea,” she said. “Like all Swiss, I like the sea.” So we took a road trip and looped the Olympic peninsula. It was paradise.
July 2013: Bruni's Snow Bowl Hut on Mt. Tahoma
The first backpacking trip of the summer – short, steep and hot – was my friend Veronique’s annual birthday hike, complete with champagne and birthday cake. The tradition began a half dozen years ago. Veronique had never been backpacking and wanted to try it for her birthday. My husband, Tom, and I have both been backpacking since our teens. We planned a trip and Veronique was hooked. She’s spent her birthday backpacking ever since. This year a group of a dozen of us spent the night on Mt. Tahoma. Here you see my husband and me trudging upward.
July 2013: Ike Kineswa State Park
A few years back, my friend, Barb, got me back into car camping – something I’d done eons ago as one of nine in an Army surplus tent with a fabulous center pole. This summer it was Lake Mayfield at Ike Kineswa State Park. Not the best choice we’ve ever made – too much noise, too few hikes. Great for kids with bikes, teens with ski boats, men with fishing poles. Not ideal for two women seeking solitude and hiking trails. Getting rained out the second day wasn’t a huge disappointment. It was here with Barb I received the publishing contract for my novel, Running Secrets (read all about it in Writing and Waiting). I would have danced around the campfire if there hadn’t been a burn ban. In the rain? A celebratory hug for the smart phone…
August 2013: No Name Lake
Really. It has no name. At least not on the green map. You know, those backpacker maps with all the trails and elevations marked. Tom and I were backpacking at Mirror Lake. We headed off on the PCT (that’s the Pacific Crest Trail – the one from Canada to Mexico Cheryl Strayed made famous in Wild – funny book, btw). I saw what looked to be an animal trail rising to the left off the PCT and thought we might get a view of Mirror Lake from the ridge, so we scrambled upward. That’s when the-bear-went-over-the-mountain syndrome got the better of me, and we kept going and going. The reward? Skinny dipping in No Name Lake. And no, not posting those photos (but yes, they exist). Here’s one of the lake. Sans naked bodies…
September 2013: Shi Shi Beach and Makah Indian Reservation
Tom moaned his jealousy. Repeatedly. I’d been to the Pacific Coast with Edith. He had not. He wanted to hike the beach, sleep on the sand, poke around in tide pools. “Only three flat miles and mostly boardwalk,” he said. It wasn’t until later, when we were loading our packs – mine came in at a low 22 pounds – he figured he should mention the 150-foot drop to the beach at the end of that flat trail. “There’s a rope to hold onto,” he offered.
We woke misty-rainy wet the first morning, unsure whether to stay or go. But as we warmed ourselves with a morning fire and coffee, the sun rose over the hill behind us and the Pacific shimmered before us. We stayed to the reward of a glorious day, a breathtaking sunset, and the Milky Way.
Between the camping trips, boating, swimming, dog walks, bike rides and family visits, I did, in fact, work this summer. I finished Biking Uphill, Book Two of the Alki Trilogy, and read the entire manuscript aloud to Tom as we drove to Cape Disappointment and back again. Including on the ferry ride. I think Tom agreed to listen just so I’d go along!
Running Secrets inches closer to publication each day. My Booktrope publishing team solidified in late August, and I couldn’t be more pleased with this group of fabulous women: Tiffany White, book manager, Katrina Randall, editor, Loretta Matson, designer, and Pamela Carter, proofreader. I hit the send button on the first round of edits last Sunday, the day before fall quarter classes began! And just this week, on a break between classes, I got my first glimpse of the cover design. No image here. Not yet. Maybe next month.